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    • Reasons For Hope (1): The Solutions Are Known
      Ok, this place has mostly been about how fucked we are, and how we’ve fucked up. Blame is more on our leaders than us, but as a species we’re on the hook. But there is cause of hope because mostly we know what we have to do. We know we have to reduce CO2 and Methane emissions. We even know mostly how. We pretend we don’t, because the how will involve changin […]
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Never drink and drill

The cabinet doors will never hang straight.  No, a level doesn’t help.  What you need is a board or other fixed element to use as a standard.  Fortunately, the bottom of the cabinet face has one.  Unfortunately, the beer was delicious.

(It’s fine now.  I had to curse at it for awhile)

Always use sanded grout.  Because it looks better, that’s why.

Lift with your legs.  Yes, they *do* always tell you this.  There’s a good reason.  Ok, do it your way, you’ll find out.

Get an eggshell finish for your dark hallway.  The limited light you have will bounce from wall to wall.

Triple check the print outs for you kitchen.  No, quadruple check them.  Otherwise, the cabinet above the stove will be two inches too short and offset by an inch and a half, making it impossible for you to reconnect the outside vent, and your refrigerator will be boxed in no matter how many times you told the designer not to do that.

Your turn to share renovation wisdom.

13 Responses

  1. I don’t have any home-improvement tips.

    Instead, I was wondering if RiverDaughter and other pharmaceutical industry people here have any comments about the management practices described in this article, and generally on the working lives of scientists in the U.S. today:

    Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane, Vast F.D.A. Effort Tracked E-Mails of Its Scientists, The New York Times, 14 July 2012.

    (It just seems so sad to me how U.S. private and government organizations treat scientists these days.)

    I’m looking forward to a RiverDaughter post on this episode.

    • I’ve only read this briefly and it has been hovering in the back of my mind for awhile. I don’t know all of the details so I can’t comment with any kind of insight. However, I do know that about 8 years ago, I had a conversation with a vendor about the FDA. He was getting his ADME prediction model software accepted by the FDA. He told me that the FDA had rooms full of boxes of adverse drug reaction reports that they couldn’t handle because they didn’t really have a database set up to adequately keep track of them. It could be that the situation has changed in the past eight years.
      My personal opinion of the FDA is that it needs emergency intervention to refocus its mission and bring it up to date technologically as quickly as possible. Contrary to what other lefties might think, the drug industry hasn’t benefitted from any special favors from the FDA recently. What plagues it now is the “starve the beast” attitude that has been prevalent in Washington for almost 20 years now.
      That being said, the FDA should not be monitoring private email. It probably doesn’t stop the gov or corporations from doing it but it’s wrong.
      FWIW, I would NEVER reveal proprietary data that I was privileged to receive to any party other than the people I worked with. But commenting about how f&(*ed up the pharma industry is from a managerial POV? Yeah, I would do that. And so what if it’s true? Same with the FDA. That agency works for all of us and it’s to the benefit of all of us, including the drug companies, that it is in peak operating condition.
      So, when I have a chance to read up on all the details, I might have a better understanding of what really went on. What is obvious though is that someone’s right to privacy was violated. And I have a problem with that.

      • The FDA has a history:
        Ray It has been more than 50 years since my first extended visit to Europe as a university student. Most readers will be too young to remember, but a “wonder-drug,” Thalidomide, had just come on the market. This drug gave temporary rest and relief to millions, especially prospective mothers with morning sickness and problems sleeping. It was very popular in Germany.

        Stationed in Germany more than a decade later, I witnessed the human results of the horrible side effects of Thalidomide, which had become available all over Europe, and beyond. Over 10,000 babies in 46 countries were born without limbs or otherwise disfigured and disabled. Those still alive would be in their late forties/early fifties now.

        How did the United States escape this plague? One whistleblower, a woman named Frances Kelsey of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration saw through the charade of the drug company swindlers and stood up to it.

        Although Dr. Kelsey came under extreme pressure to fall in step and approve Thalidomide, she scorned the testing that had been done by the Thalidomide manufacturer and blocked introduction of the drug into America.

        For her unusual courage and integrity, President John Kennedy gave her the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Serivce in 1962, after it became clear that she had singlehandedly prevented a public health disaster from befalling us in the United States.

        Dr. Kelsey will be 98 on July 24; her courage should be celebrated — particularly in the light of the behavior of our present-day F.D.A. The F.D.A.’s current commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, should be put on the griddle — and sooner rather than later.

        • The above is a quote from Ray McGovern.

        • Ok, can I just say that I can GUARANTEE that a drug that is as teratogenic as thalidomide will never make it past the modern FDA. We have had drugs that are far less dangerous than thalidomide and even aspirin that can’t get approved by the FDA.
          Like I said, I haven’t read all the material on this scandal yet but people need to stop jumping to conclusions about what might be approved. One if the reasons why the pharmas are going under is because the FDA has raised the safety thresholds so high that almost nothing gets approved and the patent click keeps ticking away while the agency takes longer and longer to do its job.
          I suspect that the scientists in question have issues with how the agency is being managed, not with the approval process (which is indirectly related to management). As I said before, 8 years ago the FDA was not able to keep track of adverse drug reaction reports. This is very, very serious both for the consumer AND the drug company. Because if you don’t know what the side effects are, you can’t fix them until it’s too late and some of these effects are only known once the drug hits tge general market.
          It may have been fixed by now but databases are only one potential problem. Updating the technology and training and retaining staff can also be affected by Congressional budget decisions and executive branch political appointees.
          So, cool your jets. The truly bad drugs and even some of the good but problematic drugs will never get approved by this FDA. Seriously. Let’s not hyperventilate about something that isn’t going to happen. Btw, we know much more about toxicology now that we did in the 50’s. Believe it or not, there has been progress in science over the past 50 years.

          • The McGovern FDA article. (I know that Ray McGovern is a “sky is falling” kind of guy with no expertise except as a Cancer survivor who gets scanned regularly.)

            FDA & GE: Extra Radiation? Who Cares? 

            “As the Times reported, the F.D.A. spying focused on doctors who believed the agency gave shortshrift to concerns about excessive radiation coming from [GE] medical imaging devices.”


          • Your assurances aside, what was the deal with Vioxx? In the wake of the FDA handling of this drug, changes were called for ; yet as of 2009 the GAO still found FDA efforts underwhelming:

            FDA yet to improve safety after Vioxx scandal – Health – Health care – NBCNews.com

            “It is not yet clear if or when FDA’s decision-making process will be substantially improved as a result of its efforts,” according to the GAO report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.


            I’m reading a Grisham book “the Litigators” which is a fictional riff in the Vioxx death cases.

          • Yeah, I don’t read fiction.
            I don’t think everything was known about cox2 inhibitors before vioxx was released. The safety requirements are getting a lot more stringent over time. However, I do know one person who has rheumatoid arthritis for whom vioxx greatly improved her quality of life and she has told me that she would have accepted the risk because now she is left either chewing NSAIDs or buying enbrel at a ridiculous cost every year. When this drug was taken off the market, she lost her ability to control her pain in the way she thought was best for her.
            And then there was the phen-fen disaster. The mayo clinic found a handful of patients that suffered heart valve irregularities after they took an unapproved, off-label combination prescribed by their doctors. That cost the company something like $18,000,000,000 in damages. Well, it turns out that the damage was transient and went away after discontinuing use of the drugs after a few months.
            I sat in a meeting with pharmacologists and biologists who did not know that the receptor that was affected was in the heart in the first place. These were not the original researchers for either drug by the way. But the irregularity showed up in these patients because of the combination that was off-label and unapproved, and because the combination that was unapproved and off-label caused a very high amount of serotonin in the bloodstream.
            Now, tell me, who was ultimately responsible for the heart valve irregularities?
            I know who got blamed.
            At some point in time, consumers are going to have to accept that no drug is perfect for every person and that there WILL be side effects with everything that gets approved by the FDA. Everything without exception will have some side effect. And these are side effects that could not be predicted or detected during clinical trials. They can only be found from adverse drug reaction reports that are sent to the FDA. That being said, the number of tests that a drug has to jump thru to get approved has jumped exponentially since the 1990’s. You are not going to get teratogens or things that will screw up your heart rhythm, etc. nowadays, you won’t get a vioxx but some other drug that we don’t know about yet might have an unforeseen side effect in spite of all the precautions and the FDA will develop a new safety standard that must be met.
            Other than that, what would you prefer? What would possibly satisfy your need for safety? Because if you accept no risk whatsoever, the drug companies will stop researching and go out of business, leaving us with an older generation of drugs and nothing on the horizon to replace them. This is what is happening now as all the big pharmas go off the patent cliff and there is nothing in the pipeline to replace them. So the company stops making money and they cut research which means even fewer drugs in the pipeline and so on and so on.
            Your choice.

  2. This is huge (or not!) –
    Chicago’s teachers could strike a blow for organised labour globally

    Unions in America have been so diminished over the years that membership is concentrated in a public sector rump. Their struggles can thus appear as sectional, even where they have much wider significance. Union members in Madison, Wisconsin won widespread support. In the end, however, they lost the initiative by falling back on a narrow client relationship with the Democratic party. Pushing a recall vote against Governor Scott Walker, they hemorrhaged members while the new anti-union laws were passed, then lost the recall vote.


  3. Dang! I blew my cover. Would you please delet the personal inf I accidentally just posted. Thanks!

    • What are you talking about? I don’t see it.

      • Good. I had attempted to cut and paste from an email I had sent this morn. It in the tubes I guess. The gist was that I want to minimize regulatory capture as much ass possible. The FDA is one of our protectors and it is up to us to see that it is working to keep thing safe and keep us informed about the real risks. Then we make choices.

        • Science has made great strides in the past 50 years, and we laymen should be thankful and trust that we are in good hands. The examples of a few bad apples that nervous nellies go on about are a dangerous distraction.

          Like this:
          Margaret Miller, a former chemical laboratory supervisor at Monsanto,[50] wrote a scientific report that was to be submitted to the FDA to obtain approval of [a] drug. Shortly before the report was submitted, Miller quit Monsanto to take a job at the FDA, where her first job was to approve the report she had just written while employed at Monsanto.[49][50]


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